Jumping Guard

When you first start to compete, there are a few things you cannot do, heel hooks, wrist locks, toe locks, jumping guard, knee bars…

This is all for good reason – white belt Jiu-Jitsu is crazy! Its really really tiring. You have 5 mins of 2 people who doesn’t really know lots of things with little technique – trying to choke the sh** out of each other! It’s chaos. Grabbing the lapel, grabbing the collar, only committing halfway to a throw – at least that was my experience of white belt competition.

Then we go to blue belt. The matches start to slow down. You still get the speed of the white belt, but this time around, everything is much more precise. People start to hit berimbolos, they get the lapel and loop it under your knee so you’re hopping around like a pirate who’s lost his leg – blue belt division is tough. Don’t get me wrong, white belt division has some great players and sometimes you get great white belts, but at blue belt, sh*t gets REAL.

It’s for this reason that some rules are held for the slightly more experienced. You’ll suddenly feel your wrist being pressed towards your chest and you realise that tickling your own forearm is actually quite a tricky thing to do. You’ll find that when you are thrown, your feet are literally swept away without warning and (THE MOST ANNOYING THING) people love to jump guard.

I hate it. It’s part of the game and I get it – but boyyy is it frustrating.

As soon as they loop their legs around you, mounting your abdomen quicker than a dog in heat, you have two options: try and shake them off OR place them on the mat.

REMEMBER – slamming is a huge NO NO in most of the BJJ world.

I’ve seen people DQ’d for dropping the dead weight to the floor and it being classified as a slam. I feel sorry for those people – the people that genuinely don’t intend to slam, but inevitably get caught out. For those that DO slam…shame on you!

However, you have to ask: if jiu-jitsu is (or was) for self defense, then slamming is a real option. You have to remember that BJJ is a sport. It’s a match, not a fight. The sport is not full contact – slams, punches, and kicks are all banned. I personally think they should ban jumping guard, as it seems to me like a rubbish way to bring someone to the floor.

As far as advancing the action, it usually ends in one person spending the next few minutes trying to get out the guard, and of course there’s no points awarded for either competitor. What’s the point? I get that there are lots of attacks from the guard position. But guard jumping is not a very skilled technique – anyone can do it. Not everyone can take down or throw, though.

I mean, look at Jeff Lawson demonstrate a beautiful drop Ippon Seo Nage into an armbar. You have to admire the skill that fighter/competitor has. You ever hit one of these?!! It is difficult, especially against a highly skilled opponent. Have you seen this video? – ERMAGOD! I could watch this over and over!

I have been very fortunate in that my Sensei is one of only about 200 registered competition Judo black belt AND BJJ Black belt in the UK (shout out to Trevor Birmingham – T.Birmingham Academy!) Our instructors teach us various take downs as well as the ground skills. Why jump guard when you can try for a more exciting, more effective takedown?

What do you think of jumping guard? Have you got a go-to takedown or throw? What would you like to see in the BJJ ruleset? What moves annoy the shizzle out of you? Comment below and let us know.

Adam Phillips

BJJ 1 tag blue belt under Trevor Birmingham (T.Birmingham Academy) and Japanese Jujitsu 2nd Dan Blackbelt under Alexei Roberts and Michael McGarry, Adam haswon the AMA Nationals 3 times and is a 3 time Silver Medallist for Team GB in BJJ and Sports Jujitsu. He has also got tons of medals from regional comps. Trains at Kyouken MMA & Jujitsu, based in Andover and trains with MMA Stars, Mike 'Gip' Cutting and Alexei 'Boom' Roberts. Adam joined Grappling Insider following a request on UK BJJ Underground and has proven to have a real passion for all sorts of MMA, inc. BJJ, in particular. Adam is a huge fan of Mike Bidwell (BJJ over 40 legend) and says that he's very privileged to be able to contact huge sports stars and interview them!